The photo below is of an abscess that appeared on the inside of the left
front leg. The animal was limping and the leg appeared swollen
around the area of the abscess. In the photo to the left, the
abscess has apparently burst and the draining pus has formed a crusty scab
over the area.
In the photo to the right, the crusty
scab was lifted off leaving a round open area. The area was washed
and flushed with a Betadine solution to clean it and then Nolvasan was
applied. An injection of Banamine was also given to relieve the pain
and help reduce the inflammation.
An abscess is a round, hard swollen
area - actually a pocket of pus which is formed from dead tissue cells after
an injury which becomes infected. Pus is a thick fluid produced
by the body as it fights the bacterial infection. The
cause of most abscesses is a puncture wound from something in the pasture
such as a thorn or a stick. Foreign matter, such as a splinter or
dirt, then penetrates the skin via the wound. The abscess first
appears as a painful firm swelling under the skin that is either hot or cold
to the touch. As time passes, the localized swelling becomes softer
and less painful. Like a boil, when the abscess is full, it will burst
or need to be lanced. When the abscess bursts, it drains letting the
When located on the jaw, it can actually
look like the llama or alpaca is holding a mouthful of cud. An abscess
in the mouth can actually be caused from something as simple as being poked
with a piece of debris while eating hay or grass. Or it can be a tooth
An Abscess: Clip the wool away from the area and gently clean the
area with an antibacterial solution such as Betadine. Remove any scabs
or crusts on the skin than have formed. After the pus has been expressed,
flush the abscess daily with hydrogen peroxide followed by applications of Nolvisan. Healing can seem rather slow since an abscess
heals from the inside out. There is also a wound dressing that your
Veterinarian can get for you that has shown a lot of success in treating abscesses. Called Silverlon, it is a treated gauze-type material that you
pack into the abscess and it promotes healing while killing the infection.
Some llama owners highly recommend this product.
If you come in contact with
draining pus, just wash your hands; this bacteria is only infectious to
humans if it is exposed to an open wound on the owner’s skin.
Occasionally an abscess
may occur at the site of
a Sub-Q injection, especially common when administering CD/T vaccinations.
Abscess: When an animal has repeated abscesses occurring
on a tooth, they may be faced with the decision of surgery. Below are
some comments from lama breeders who have experienced a llama's tooth
abscess. Perhaps their experiences will be of some help to one who may
be having this problem.
However, note that the information provided on
this website is designed to share and support; not to replace the relationship that exists between a
patient and his/her veterinarian.
Read On ..........
"Zippity has another tooth root
abscess. This is the third time for the same tooth and she is only four years old. The vet gave me the option of trying the antibiotics again, having it
x-rayed and having it pulled if necessary. I voted to try the antibiotics again. She is on the fourth dose with one more to go and unfortunately this is the one time she is not responding to the antibiotic
(Nuflor). Next step is to
x-ray the jaw and determine if the tooth should be pulled. I have heard horror stories of jaws breaking and thousands of dollars being spent to correct. Anyone have any positive things to tell me. I guess if you have negative ones I should hear them too. Or suggestions would be welcome also. This is very discouraging.
Wendy: Because the teeth are attached to the jawbone, they can't be "pulled" per se. If your option is to have the tooth removed, and you are
close to OSU, and their vet school there, I am sure they have dealt with tooth problems prior and have a lot of experience. We had the same problem some years back; "played' with a bad tooth for quite sometime. Our local vet at the time did the surgery and it was her first experience. She actually didn't think she could do it, but kept trying and did get it out and the end result turned out great. Good luck in whatever route you take!
Wendy we messed with one of our girls for many, many months, I think it was close to a year and finally pulled the tooth and she is fine now. We tried
several antibiotics , we did x-rays, we open up the area under her jaw where
she had a lump and drained and I inserted meds several times a day for many days. Etc.....pulling the tooth we did here, it was the vet, his assistant
and me. It took us nearly 3 hours and was lots of work. The root of the tooth is a Y, our girl was a trooper and was sedated but not knocked out.
For us it was the answer. Good luck
I spoke with Susan at the Llama Affaire about abscesses, because we have both had them.....she learned from Steve that they have used a drug, Microtil??????
It only takes one shot and apparently the abscess goes away....rarely a second dose is used....I guess its a common drug for cattle *BUT* it is highly toxic especially to humans and a person recently died from getting scratched by the needle tip....Eliz
Aha, maybe that was the drug my vet said he could use, but would not let me take home. I would have to bring Zippity to him for administering. I'll ask him and make the
trip(s) if that is what he wants to try next. Thanks so much for this info.
We have used Micotil several times and we started out with the same concerns
as Linda but become a little more comfortable every time we use it. It seems to work very well when we administer it early in the abscess process,
but we haven't had long term success with a long term established abscess.
We did have a tooth removed once and it was a very successful outcome but
the procedure was so scary we haven't tried it since, we are a long way from
anyone with experience in removal. Cathy just had a tooth removed from her llama,
Stretch, that sounded like a
very gentle procedure. We have two females that have had abscesses for about 6 years, they clear up for maybe a year and then return but they are
both relatively fine boned ladies one 11 and one 17 years old and we have just been afraid to attempt a removal. We live in cattle country and
Micotil is very commonly used for "lumpy jaw" and yes the vet does have to administer it as it is extremely dangerous to humans.